CIO Insight: New-Gen IT Requiring CIOs to Think More Like CFOs

DEL MAR, Calif. — Nobody likes to talk about the danger of their jobs evolving into something they do not like, least of all highly compensated enterprise C-suite executives. But a group of Fortune 500 CIOs did just that several days ago.

The occasion was the second, and possibly annual, The Wall Street Journal CIO Network conference, held at The Grand Del Mar resort near San Diego, Calif. About 120 CIOs were in attendance for the one-day meetup that featured several open sessions and cloistered private meetings that enabled the CIOs to speak freely among themselves. Privacy, one of the true conundrums in today’s IT world, was a key request by the attendees: Guards stood outside the meeting room entrances. The open sessions, which provided plenty of insight in their own regard, were observed by a small group of journalists.

Go here to see the agenda and a list of those who attended. Speakers included Google Director of Engineering Ray Kurzweil, Intel Chief Economist and Manager of Market Sizing and Forecasting Paul Thomas, VMware CEO and former Intel CTO Pat Gelsinger, and several other highly recognizable IT stars.

If there was one key takeaway from this daylong get-together on the Southern California coast, it was this: CIOs need to start thinking more like CFOs, or else they will slowly forfeit their power to other colleagues.

All the trends we see in IT business evolution ultimately end up as real tasks on the CIO’s desk. Some of the more recent developments, such as BYOD and BYOC (bring your own device and cloud), consumerization, and gamification, have caused even more headaches than usual for these often-embattled professionals.

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